After Action Review (AAR) of Watercolor & Ink Demonstration

Review Time!

Greetings!  Yes, it is time I did a review.  It has been about two weeks since I did my watercolor and ink demonstration (demo) for the Southern Oregon Society of Artists (SOSA) in Medford.  I had a wonderful time!  The organization treated me well and I had an enthusiastic audience.   It was an exciting and memorable event for me.  So much to think about!

Review of Watercolor & Ink Demo
Here I am in mid sentence; all set up and ready to go! Southern Oregon Society of Artists; August 2016

Thank You!

First, I’d like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the following:

  • Lori Garfield for all the coordination before hand; it was great and most helpful! Thanks for the introduction.
  • Marilyn Foreman, for inviting me to do the demo; what an honor!
  • To the members of SOSA for their warm and enthusiastic welcome.

After Action Review

My purpose for conducting this after action review is to put down on paper all those things I am thinking about (so much to think!)  The great thing is that next time I need to do a demonstration, I can review what happened this time.  Remembering what went well and where I might improve is important to me.  I hope to do more demos in the future!

After Action Review Format
This is the AAR format I used. Feel free to copy if you like.

What Was Supposed To Happen

  • The Society of Southern Oregon Artists SOSA) invited me to give a demonstration on watercolor and ink techniques. My audience represented artists of different media and different skill levels. I had roughly an hour and a half to show how I work with watercolor and ink.
  • My intention was to show how I create a watercolor & ink painting from start to finish. I divided my work process into three phases based on the media I use: graphite, ink and watercolor. Each phase was to take twenty minutes.
  • Throughout the demo, I planned to talk and explain the development of the painting. Talking points were to include ideas, materials, working with the media, etc.

What Happened

  • I was able to follow my plan of roughly 20 minutes per medium: graphite, ink then watercolor.
  • After a nervous start, I dove in and did my best. By mentally diving in, I was able to relax and get down to the task of drawing and painting!
  • Artist members asked questions as I worked.  I was pleased to answer questions as I worked, and even more pleased that I was able to keep my focus!
  • The audience was so warm and attentive that I had a great time!  So much fun to be with a wonderful group of fellow artists!
Review - Organic Grind Demo Painting WIP
First state:  Organic Grind Coffee at the end of the SOSA demo session; August 2016

What Went Well

  • I had prepared; I had a plan and it worked.
  • Having a time line set for the demo worked well for me. I had a watch with a timer so that when 20 minutes was up I could move on to the next stage of the painting development. This method of chunks of time ensured I didn’t get bogged down in one task.
  • To my surprise, I worked on one painting throughout the demonstration. I had “work-in-progress” type paintings prepared in case I became stuck or had problems. However, I was able to work on one painting throughout.
  • Having multiple “work-in-progress” type paintings prepared facilitated the flow of the demo. I used the “work-in-progress” pieces to emphasize points about the development of a painting using watercolor and ink.
  • I was able to adjust on the spot. For example, I started the drawing phase of my demo painting using an HB pencil, true to my normal practice. Unfortunately, I draw too lightly with an HB. Once the audience told me they couldn’t see, I was able to pull out an 8B pencil which was much easier to see.
  • Having prepared and rehearsed talking out loud while painting, I was able to speak without referring to my talking points, at least after the first few minutes.
  • Another surprise was that the audience appreciated seeing me go through the drawing phase with graphite.  I had almost decided to cut out the drawing, but the audience was glad I did the drawing.
SOSA Demo Review. Final state of demo painting - Organic Grind Coffee
“Organic Grind Coffee Shack”; final state. Completed after the demo. 2016

What I Might Want To Do Better*

  • Get more of the plan on paper ahead of time.  I had a checklist and a narrative typed out.  But, I could have been more detailed on paper; I relied on too many things being in my head.  It might have been a disaster if I had stage fright!
  • I still get nervous when asked to do a demonstration. Practice, practice practice!
  • I might want to consider something like adding a simple PowerPoint presentation to keep the audience and me focused on key points. This is a “nice to do”; equipment will be the limiting factor.
  • Timing. I kept to my timeline, though I did not plan for a question period at the end. I think next time I might want to allow a period for questions. Could it be I was a bit nervous about questions?

*Note: My husband video recorded the demo session. He is preparing it for my review. I may identify a few more things I want to do next time around!  I hope to post a link to the video soon

After Action Review Conclusion

Review - Keys to success

For me, reviewing my preparation for and conduct of a watercolor and ink demonstration was important.  By evaluating where I am now, I can see what I might want to do to improve.  Its also good to stop and acknowledge what a grand time I had thanks to the members of SOSA.

Your Input

Your insight and opinion is valuable to me!  If you would like, please share your experiences!

Review of SOSA Demo

Thanks!

Update

My husband video recorded my demo and it can be seen online.  Please see below!

SOSA Part 1

 

SOSA Part 2

Sit back with a cup of coffee, tea or… and enjoy!  🙂

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